Militants with the so-called Islamic State (IS) have beheaded female civilians in Syria for the first time, having accused the two women of practicing sorcery, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
Rami Abdulrahman, the head of SOHR, said the beheadings occurred in the past week, and that one of the woman's husband was also beheaded. The violence reportedly took place in the Syria's eastern province of Deir ez-Zor.
IS militants have previously stoned and killed women held hostage by the group, including female Kurdish fighters, over accusations of acts such as adultery. The group, however, has never beheaded female civilians, according to SOHR.
"The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner," Abdulrahman said, according to the AFP.
SOHR also reported on Tuesday that the militant group allegedly crucified five men accused of breaking fast for Ramadan by eating during the daytime. The men were reportedly crucified to a wall in the city of al-Mayadeen.
Meanwhile, Syrian state television is reporting that government troops managed to regain control of a neighborhood in Hassakeh, a majority Kurdish city in the country's northeast. Both Kurdish fighters and government forces had previously occupied the city.
On Thursday, however, IS militants began to attack various neighborhoods in Hassakeh, kicking off days of fighting and dozens of casualties. Mustafa Osso, a Syrian opposition leader currently based in Turkey, said fighting was ongoing. Syrian state television reported that National Defense Forces had recaptured the city's Eastern Ghoweiran neighborhood.
At least 60,000 people have reportedly been displaced as a result of the IS insurgency in Hassakeh, according to United Nations' figures.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.